FCC Adopts Final Requirements For Broadband Labels

On November 17, 2022, the Federal Communication Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) adopted new rules that will require broadband providers to display easy-to understand labels to allow consumers to comparison shop for broadband services. The labels resemble nutrition labels that appear on food products and must be prominently displayed and easily accessible to customers.

The Report and Order1 includes a template of the label, pictured herein, and sets out formatting and content requirements. The label should be displayed at the point of sale, as well as on a provider’s website, and must include critical information about the provider’s service offerings, including information about pricing, introductory rates, data allowances, performance metrics, and whether the provider participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program. The label requirement applies to all mass-market broadband Internet access service plans, including service providers participating in the E-Rate and Rural Health Care programs, and is the same for both fixed and mobile broadband services. Labels are not required for grandfathered plans that are not offered to new customers, but service providers must archive all labels for two years.

All internet service providers with 100,000 or fewer subscribers have one year from publication in the Federal Register to implement the FCC’s new label requirements, while larger providers have six months to comply.

In conjunction with the Report and Order, the FCC also issued a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, seeking comment on issues related to accessibility and languages, performance characteristics, service reliability, cybersecurity, network management and privacy, formatting, and whether service providers should submit label information to the Commission.

If you would like to file comments or would like assistance in preparing or reviewing your broadband label, please contact Dee Herman at [email protected] or Shannon Forchheimer at [email protected]
[1] Empowering Broadband Consumers Through Transparency, CG Docket No. 22-2, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2022) (“Report and Order”).